Competition Problem 122b
South to make four hearts. West leads the ♠8.
Successful solvers: Jean-Marc Bihl, Steve Bloom, Wing-Kai Hon, Leigh Matheson, Radu Mihai, Sebastian Nowacki, Zoran Sibinović, Andries van der Vegt, Dick Yuen, Wim van der Zijden Tables
On the spade lead North plays the ♠2, East the ♠10, and South wins with the ♠A. South leads the ♥Q, which is allowed to hold, and then the ♠4, covered by the ♠6, ♠9 (to keep West off the lead), and ♠J. East now leads:
A. another spade. South ruffs low, leads the other low heart for a finesse of the ♥8, and leads a diamond from North. East splits his honours (best), and is allowed to hold the trick. East now plays:
1. a spade. South discards the ♣4 and ruffs with North’s ♥A. Declarer enters hand with a diamond finesse and leads a heart, restricting West to one more heart trick.
2. a diamond. South wins as cheaply as possible, cashes the remaining minor suit winners, and at the eleventh trick throws East in with the third club (it does not help East to unblock). East must lead a spade or a diamond and West’s ♥K is smothered.
3. the ♣Q. South wins, crosses to the ♥A, takes two diamonds with the aid of the finesse, and at the eleventh trick throws West in with the last heart. West must lead a club. North covers and declarer makes two more tricks in the suit.
B. the ♦K, which is allowed to hold the trick. East now plays:
1. a spade. South ruffs, finesses the ♥8, finesses the ♦J, and cashes the remainder of the minor suit winners to reach the ending in A.2.
2. another diamond. South wins as cheaply as possible, finesses the ♥8, ruffs a spade, and cashes the remainder of the minor suit winners to reach the ending in A.2.
3. the ♣Q. South wins, and uses the ♥8 and the ♥A as entries to take the diamond finesse and a spade ruff. Declarer cashes his last diamond and throws West in with the last heart for the ending in A.3.
C. the ♣Q. South wins, crosses to North by finessing the ♥8, and leads a diamond. East splits his honours and is allowed to hold the trick. A club continuation will immediately concede a trick in the suit. On a spade or diamond continuation, play reverts to line A.3.
See the solution to Competition Problem #4 for the recommended tabular format if you prefer not to write in English prose.
Hugh Darwen, 2015